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All Songs Considered

When Maggie Rogers brought Pharrell to tears with her electro-pop earworm "Alaska" last summer, fans of the viral hit quickly scoured the web for more music from the young musician, but came up mostly empty handed.

I first saw Aurora in a small club in New York City three years ago. She was just 17 years old, but her performance was mesmerizing. Her frail, blonde figure mirrored her enchanting voice and words. The young singer from Norway put out a dramatic and beautiful record earlier this year called All My Demons Greeting Me as a Friend.

HBO's new Westworld series is only five episodes deep, but the sci-fi western has already established itself as a reliable source for musical easter eggs. Nearly every episode has featured a player piano in the background clinking out versions of popular rock songs. The slightly out-of-tune instrumentals end up sounding like something Scott Joplin might have played.

If you're looking of a break from the relentless assault of gut-churning news headlines, you've come to the right place! For this week's show I thought I'd send a little bit of good cheer into the world with some big, joyful group sing-alongs that celebrate life and all its gloriousness.

The first burst of light and love comes from the London-based band Crystal Fighters and its anthem to how momentary and magical life is. I follow with Fialta, a group from California with a simple message: We're all in this together.

On this week's +1 podcast, NPR Music contributor Timmhotep Aku talks with singer and rapper Anderson .Paak and producer Knxwledge about their new collaboration under the name NxWorries.

The music the LA-based duo makes exists at the intersection of soul and raw, sample-based hip-hop ballads over beats. Anderson .Paak lends his inimitable voice, songwriting and slick tongue to NxWorries, while Knxwledge is the quieter half with a talent for finding and flipping samples into transfixing loops.

As Bon Iver's Justin Vernon prepped the release for his latest mind-bender, 22, A Million, he knew he didn't want to talk too much about the album or grant a lot of interviews. So he held a single press conference in Eau Claire, Wisc., on Sept. 2, just a few weeks after performing the entire album live at Vernon's own Eaux Claires Music & Arts Festival.

Adia Victoria is one of the most compelling performers I've seen this year. Much of what she has to say is about growing up black in the American South. It isn't pretty. For an audience member, her concerts feel uncomfortable yet cathartic. Just watch the first song of her Tiny Desk concert and you'll get an idea of what I mean.

This intimate, completely unadorned cover of Lou Reed's "Perfect Day" will warm your heart. Andrew Bird and The National's Matt Berninger recorded the song together in Bird's living room; Bird provided the instrumentation, his trademark whistling and violin gracefully looping together, and Berninger reads the lyrics from a sheet of paper on the floor.

In this week's All Songs Considered, we feature three solo projects by some of our favorite bandleaders, a solo artist's duets record, and new music from some familiar faces, or more accurately put, some familiar Lips. The Flaming Lips are back with a new album, Oczy Młody, inspired by a Polish book that Wayne Coyne owns and finds phonetically fascinating (even if he doesn't understand any of the words). We've also got Run the Jewels, a duo that's all about the words and whose new single speaks to urgent issues of race relations.

Run The Jewels has always been heavy as hell, a hip-hop duo that can hang with leather-clad metalheads as much as the club.

Drake has released three new songs. The Canadian rapper and singer debuted "Two Birds, One Stone," "Sneakin'" and "Fake Love" Sunday night on his Beats 1 radio program. The latter two tracks are out now via Spotify.

Over the weekend, Joanna Newsom celebrated the one-year anniversary of Divers by sharing a new song recorded during that album's sessions, "Make Hay." The piano-based pop song bounces lightly, with a woozily struck celesta and a Wurlizter warming Newsom's intricate writing.

On this week's +1 podcast: A conversation with Henry Hey, the orchestrator, arranger and musical director for Lazarus, the off-Broadway musical set to the songs of David Bowie.

The cast recording of Lazarus, the musical David Bowie wrote with playwright Enda Walsh, is out this week, and with it arrives three previously unreleased Bowie songs recorded during his Blackstar sessions. "Killing A Little Time" is the third track to leak from the album, and it's an ominous, polyrhythmic rock scorcher that would have fit well on the icon's final album. It's one of the last songs he recorded before his death from liver cancer in January.

The new album from the experimental rock band Negativland comes with a plastic bag containing 2 grams of Don Joyce's cremated remains. Joyce, a member of the group, died of heart failure in 2015. According to an official announcement on Boing Boing, the band's forthcoming album, The Chopping Channel, will ship with little bags of Joyce's ashes for as long as "supplies last."

For as much as the election has dominated the news this year, the political cycle hasn't invaded the world of All Songs Considered. But this week we've got a remarkable cut by the band EL VY that's all about Donald Trump. "Are These My Jets?" is from 30 Days, 30 Songs, an online compilation album that features a new song by a new artist every day for the final thirty days leading up to the election. (For the record, NPR is not endorsing any candidate.

Today, Chuck Berry turns 90.

And today, the man who helped define rock 'n' roll celebrates by announcing his first album in 38 years.

The album is simply called CHUCK, and it features a hometown backing band that includes his children Charles Berry Jr. on guitar and Ingrid Berry on harmonica, along with his bassist for nearly 40 years, Jimmy Marsala. The album was recorded in Berry's hometown of St. Louis and will be out in 2017.

It's not easy to make sense of the latest song from Foxygen. One minute, "America" is lurching orchestral pop, complete with dramatic strings and woodwinds. The next, it's a melancholy piano piece, followed by a sudden shift to oddball jazz punctuated by bursts of noise and orchestrated chaos. It's an epic, head-spinning collision of sounds worthy of multiple listens. "If you're already there, then you're already dead," the Los Angeles duo sings. "If you're living in America."

Days after playing the Desert Trip festival in Indio, Calif., Roger Waters is announcing a new, multi-state tour. It's his first since the 2010-2013 tour of The Wall and starts in May of next year, with stops in more than 30 cities in the U.S. and Canada.

Waters has named it the "Us And Them" tour after the song he wrote for Pink Floyd's 1973 album The Dark Side Of The Moon. He told NPR Music its themes about the haves and have-nots are more relevant and topical than ever.

The Luck Mansion sessions was one of the coolest things at AmericanaFest 2016. In the parlor of an old mansion in East Nashville, the label Third Man Records and the mansion's hosts, the organization Luck Reunion, paired musicians together to record a song. But it was more social and way more laid-back than just that, with time and space for musicians to hang out, jam, talk, drink and eat together while figuring out what they would commit to tape. Some of the pairs, like John Paul White and Rodney Crowell, wrote an original tune.

Last week, after I played a monstrously good guitar rock cut by Major Stars, Bob Boilen rolled his eyes while foolishly claiming the guitar solo was dead. So we did an entirely scientific poll (it wasn't scientific) on Twitter to see what listeners thought. As I expected, the vast majority — nearly 70 percent — said, "No, Bob." The guitar solo is not dead.

D∆WN's had a busy 2016, dropping three separate videos for "Not Above That," a fashion film for "Wake Up," a single for Adult Swim, a feature on Machinedrum's "Do It 4 U," and not to menti

The 2014 album The London Sessions wasn't so much a revitalization of Mary J. Blige's decades-long career as a way the R&B singer could reframe her music, with producers and songwriters attuned to her emotional and vocal range. Now Blige is back with Strength Of A Woman, due out this year on Capitol.

There are so many ways to be, so many ways to love and be loved. With last night's announcement of her long-awaited new album, Here, Alicia Keys offers a new song, "Blended Family (What You Do For Love)," featuring a verse from rapper A$AP Rocky. It's an acoustic guitar-driven song, decorated by cascading piano and a boom-bap beat, about starting a new family with a son from a previous marriage, mirroring Keys' own life.

Dirty Projectors guitarist and singer Amber Coffman's long-anticipated solo album is finally about to see the light of day. It's called City Of No Reply, and the first single from it is a gorgeous, soulful — if slightly bent — ballad called "All To Myself." A video for the song shows Coffman strolling along the seaside, looking somewhat forlorn, while singing to herself. Later she's buried up to her neck in sand. "I've got to sing it out," Coffman sings. "Sing it all to myself, there's no one to run to.

What does a new album from The Rolling Stones sound like in 2016? If "Just A Fool" is any indication, it's a lot like the band's earliest recordings from more than 50 years ago. This cover of a Buddy Johnson and His Orchestra tune is the kind of harmonica-honked, barroom piano-plonked, dirty blues that introduced the world to the Stones, when the British band made a name for itself by interpreting American blues songs.

Grimes surprised fans today with seven new videos, including four songs from her most recent album, Art Angels, and three tracks from her friend and collaborator HANA's self-titled EP. In a series of Tweets, Grimes says she, HANA and Grimes' brother Mac Boucher shot the videos guerrilla-style over a two-week period while traveling through Europe. "There was no crew, makeup, cameras, lights," Grimes says.

Do you ever want to hear another rock guitar solo again? That's where the fight began. Robin played a song with a lot of guitar wankery by the band Major Stars. He loved it and I frankly couldn't wait for it to end. It got me wondering: Is this sort of music even relevant in 2016?

Soul singer Charles Bradley is battling stomach cancer and has canceled several tour dates, according to a statement posted on his official Facebook page Tuesday.

The 67-year-old singer issued a statement saying he's determined to come back stronger:

"I'm getting the best medical care and we are all extremely optimistic. I will fight through this like I've fought through the many other obstacles in my life.

This past week I was at the 17th annual Americana Music Festival & Conference in Nashville, listening to and having conversations with musicians. One songwriter and singer I've admired from the world of Americana during this decade is John Paul White, whom you may know as a former member of the duo The Civil Wars.

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